Bong Go

Bong Go continues advocating for better access to quality healthcare

October 5, 2021 People's Tonight 399 views

SENATOR and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography Christopher “Bong” Go assured Filipinos that Malasakit Centers continue to be operational to improve access to healthcare, particularly in the face of the existing pandemic.

During the submission of his Certificate of Candidacy for his vice presidential bid in the 2022 elections on October 2, Go vowed for a speedier and more efficient delivery of services in these centers.

“Sisiguraduhin nating magiging mabilis, maayos at abot-kaya ang serbisyong pangkalusugan tulad ng naibibigay na tulong ng Malasakit Centers sa mga nangangailangan,” said Go.

Go, who is the main proponent of the Malasakit Centers initiative, principally authored the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019 which was eventually signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte. He is considered as the Father of the Malasakit Centers program now institutionalized by Republic Act No. 11463.

The centers are one-stop shops for all government medical assistance programs, putting together the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and PhilHealth under one roof, making it convenient for particularly poor and indigent Filipinos to access medical care.

There are presently 141 Malasakit Centers operating in the country.

The law mandates all DOH-run hospitals and the Philippine General Hospital to establish their own Malasakit Centers. Other public hospitals, including those run by local government units, may also open their own provided they meet a standard set of criteria to ensure the sustainability of its operations.

“Noong naging Senador po ako, isinulong ko ito sa lehislatibo, pinirmahan ni Pangulong Duterte noong 2019, at ganap na batas na po ito ngayon,” Go shared during the launch of the Malasakit Center in West Visayas State University Medical Center in Jaro, Iloilo City on Thursday, September 16.

“Sabi ko, bakit pa natin pahihirapan ang ating mga kababayan eh sa totoo lang po, pera nila ‘yan, pera ng Pilipino ‘yan, ibalik po natin sa kanila sa pamamagitan ng mabilis, maayos at may malasakit na serbisyo lalo na sa mga nangangailangan at walang matakbuhan,” he added.

Go said that throughout his more than 20 years in public service, he has seen firsthand how difficult it is for underserved individuals to receive medical care. This prompted him to open Cebu City’s first Malasakit Center in 2018.

“Lapitan niyo lang po ang Malasakit Center, ‘pag may balanse kayo at hindi niyo na kailangan mangutang at mag-sangla, lapitan niyo lang po ang Malasakit Center para po ‘yan sa mga poor and indigent patients, tutulungan po kayo,” he said.

“Wala ‘tong pinipili. Basta Pilipino at poor o indigent patient ka, qualified ka sa Malasakit Center. Kung tatanggihan kayo, sabihin niyo, ‘karapatan ko ito bilang Pilipino’. Pera niyo ito na binabalik lang namin sa pamamagitan ng maayos na serbisyo,” he added.

The Senator then pledged to keep fighting for better healthcare for all Filipinos, particularly those in low-income, remote, and rural communities.

“Bukas ang opisina namin ni Pangulo kung may gusto kayong hingin na tulong,” he said.

“Hindi kami mangangako ng hindi namin kaya pero gagawin namin ang lahat para tulungan kayo. Lalo na nasa gitna tayo ng krisis, panahon ito para magmalasakit sa ating kapwa,” he assured.

Before being elected as a Senator, he served as the Special Assistant to the President. Citing that a Senator’s job is not limited to legislation only, Go has been at the forefront providing representation and constituency services around the country, listening to the pleas of the most ordinary Filipinos, bringing assistance particularly in the midst of the pandemic.

“Hindi ko sasayangin ang bawat oras, minuto, o pagkakataon na ibinibigay sa akin ng taumbayan na magserbisyo sa aking kapwa. Kapalit ng inyong tiwala at suporta, ibabalik ko sa inyo ang serbisyong may malasakit, tunay at nararapat,” Go said.

“I will continue to serve especially those who need government attention the most — yung mga mahihirap po. I am determined to fulfill my role as a bridge for the poor, the needy, the hopeless and the helpless — connecting them to their government so that their voices are heard and their concerns are addressed during these trying times,” Go further explained.

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